In the first week of July, I attended an internal training on Crucial Conversations. I’ve been eyeing that training ever since I started at Red Hat. It’s a skill that I’m poor at. I tend to avoid difficult conversations. When do I have them, I let emotions get the better of me or go the path that has the least amount of conflict. The training involves hands-on practice with methods and techniques taught in the book. I’d read about half the book before I went into the training, but the training was way more effective.
I learned two important lessons from this training. One, you can get into a conversation and very often it can turn into who’s winning and who’s losing. At this point, it’s very likely you’ve lost track of the original goal of the conversation. The second is to observe when a conversation is escalating due to aggression or silence. De-escalate the conversation first. Otherwise, you’ll have of two things happen. The other person will be angry and the conversation becomes a conflict. Or the person will agree to everything while utterly unhappy about it.